Featured Image Credit: Khoi Ton, New England Black Wolves

Pepsi Center will see playoff action this spring. The Colorado Mammoth were not about to let the absence of a few players – albeit key ones – stop them from clinching a home playoff game and taking another step closer to a No. 1 seed.

Colorado was without starting goaltender Dillon Ward, forwards John Grant, Jr. and Jeremy Noble, and standout defenseman Greg Downing. Still, Colorado defeated the New England Black Wolves, 12-10, on Saturday to secure a home playoff game, no worse than the No. 2 seed in the West Division, and become the first team in the league to get to 10 victories this year.

“It’s a great win,” said coach Dan Stroup postgame. “It really shows the depth of our roster. Guys came in and stepped up!”

Alex Buque certainly did. The netminder, who made national news last week with a big hit on a Calgary player in transition, backboned a Mammoth defense with 38 saves.

“He’s been incredible every time he’s had to step in for us,” said forward Callum Crawford. “Our defense gives us the opportunity to win games up front. If they keep doing that, we can do good things. Without them, we wouldn’t be where we are.”

Contributions came from all sides of the floor. Defenseman Cam Holding also contributed offensively, tying a career-high with two goals. Forward Mike Mallory scored the first goal of his career and second-year forward Eli McLaughlin had his first-career hat trick.

In the absence of Grant, Colorado’s elder statesman on the floor, Crawford, took the lead on Saturday. He tied a career-high with five goals, including the game-winner.